Fractal analysis of two-dimensional vascularity in primary prostate cancer and surrounding non-tumoral parenchyma

Gianluigi Taverna, Piergiuseppe Colombo, Fabio Grizzi, Barbara Franceschini, Giorgia Ceva-Grimaldi, Mauro Seveso, Guido Giusti, Alessandro Piccinelli, Pierpaolo Graziotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prostate cancer is the fifth most frequent cancer in the world. However, none of the actual prognostic factors provide a valid index for predicting patient outcome. Here, we evaluate the two-dimensional vascularity in primary prostate tumors and surrounding non-tumoral parenchyma by means of fractal geometry, and assess any correlations between the results and some clinical and pathological parameters of prostate carcinoma. Prostate sections from 27 carcinoma patients were treated with CD34 antibodies. Two >10 mm2 areas of tumoral and surrounding non-tumoral parenchyma were digitized using an image analysis system that automatically quantified the fractal dimension of the vascular surface. Data were correlated with patient's age, PSA level, clinical and pathological stage, Gleason score, tumor volume, vascular invasion, surgical margins, and biochemical relapse. Two groups of patients were distinguished on the basis of whether the fractal dimension of their tumoral vascular surface was higher (group 1) or lower (group 2) than that of the surrounding non-tumoral parenchyma. Statistically significant between-group differences were found in terms of serum PSA levels (p=0.0061), tumor volume (p=0.0017), and biochemical relapse (p=0.031). The patients in group 2 had a poorer outcome. Our findings suggest a group of prostate cancer patients with a poor outcome, and the vascular surface fractal dimension as a helpful geometrical index in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-444
Number of pages7
JournalPathology Research and Practice
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2009


  • Angiogenesis
  • Cancer
  • Fractal geometry
  • Prognosis
  • Prostate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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